Perseid meteor shower at its peak tonight!

By Ivan Arturo Ebergenyi Thorpe

Remnants from Swift-Tuttle comet will put on a show for all.

On Wednesday, sky watchers all over the globe will be treated to a show of lights resulting from Earth’s transit through the “Perseid cloud,” a stream of debris left over from the Swift-Tuttle comet on its 133 year orbit around the Sun.

The spectacle will be visible around 10pm, regardless of time zone, and will feature up to 50 meteors visible per hour. Fortunately, the light of the waning crescent moon won’t obstruct visibility.

The key to enhance your experience is to find a place with as little light as possible, sit back and let your eyes adjust. And be patient. The “shower” metaphor might be a bit misleading. While you will see meteors, don’t expect a one-per-second rate.

Perseid meteor

Original Image: The 2010 Perseids over the VLT by ESO/S. Guisard, used under CC BY 4.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.

This phenomenon starts in mid-July every year and peaks between August 9 and 14. Astronomers have predicted that Wednesday August 12 will be the peak of this peak, so to speak. The show is expected to go on to the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, August 13, with continued activity in the next few days.

Don’t concern yourself too much about getting clunked by any wayward debris either. Most of the stuff just burns up in the atmosphere before reaching the surface.

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